Tag: reasons not to drink

90 Reasons not to Drink for 90 Days: #18 and #19

my green stripes

#18 Reason not to Drink: method writing

Method acting is a way actors access the thoughts and emotions of the characters they’re playing.  Method writing is the same thing.  What if I wanted to write a sober character in one of my novels?  How could I access the thoughts and emotions of a sober person while experiencing the joy and comfort of drinking delicious beers?  While I have no actual intention of writing completely sober characters any more than I have the intention of writing alcoholic characters, this is a valuable exercise to expand the colors in my crayon basket.  Now when I need to access what it feels like to BE a teetotaler I will be able to draw on all the raw irritation satisfaction and discomfort well being and Friday boredom zen-like indifference to festive beverages that I previously wouldn’t have been able to FEEL in my bones and make REAL on the page.  Now it will be in my power to make YOU feel it too.

#19 Reason not to Drink: my green and white striped XL shirt 

In the world of weight loss and weight gain there is this popular idea that you shouldn’t hang onto your “skinny” clothes because it’s just going to depress you and help you FAIL at reaching your goals and will serve as a sad reminder of how you used to be in horrifying contrast to what you’ve become.  I disagree with this.  I haven’t held onto things I wore when I was really thin.  I’ll never be really thin again and that’s not what I care about or want anyway.  However, I have kept all my favorite clothes from when I was a regular sized person.  I wore XL and looked great.  I had a waist and wore stripes and felt good.  That’s what I want.  That XL looks tiny to me now.  That’s what becoming obese does to you.  I know people who are proud of being size 4 and that’s great that that number means something to you.  I know people who will not feel good about themselves until they are out of the Large sizes and down to the mediums and smalls and invisible sizes.  Not me.  Look at that shirt.  It’s so small.  The fact that I’ve kept it all these years is to prove that I have not lost hope, that I have never stopped believing that at some point I will turn things around and get back to the clothes I love wearing.  I miss wearing my striped T’s so much.  Yah, I know.  I could wear them now.  I shouldn’t care about wearing stripes at any size.  I just don’t feel right or good in them.  Even if I could find this kind of stripe in my size.  Generally in my size they’re all bejeweled or beaded or covered in weird-ass decoupage-style printing and made of creepy fabrics.

I will wear that shirt again.

It is the closest I can come to religious-style faith.

*****

As I’ve reached #19 reason not to drink I am realizing that it’s going to be very hard to come up with 90 reasons.  I think it’s going to end up being a lot of jewelry and shirts I want to wear and stupid little nothings.  I’ve already used up about 80% of the big reasons I have for not drinking for 90 days.  Ah well, it’s okay.

Something I’ve been thinking about the last couple of days is this head-space I’ve sunk into and how I find myself wanting to jump into the television to become a fictional character on Fringe (maybe one of the people who doesn’t die at the beginning of every episode) or into a book, but only my favorite ones.  I find I don’t want to waste my time on fiction that disappoints me or stresses me out because I’m already spending enough evening time struggling to get into that calm happy place that I no longer have.  It has occurred to me that as a fiction writer I should be able to immerse myself in a different place any time I want.  I shouldn’t have to depend on other people’s fictional worlds to give me the happiness and comfort I need.  I’ve thought that maybe I should go get on my laptop and write some fiction.  Write what I wish I was experiencing.  Write the space I want to be in.  But then the weight of having to make Cricket and Grey follow the path it needs to take makes me stop.  So I rewatch another episode of Fringe and worry about what I will watch when I’ve rewatched the whole series.

Artists sketch in their sketchbooks.  I know because I’m married to one.  They sketch ideas and what they see and sometimes they just doodle and the doodle becomes something more.  Writers do this too, usually, writing in a journal or a blog.  I do this all the time to empty my head.  But I don’t sketch fictional characters or scenes that aren’t part of the big project I’m working on.  But why not?  Why not do small vignettes?  Why can’t I just sketch out small scenes without it having to go anywhere in particular?  I don’t have to share it with anyone.  I don’t have to take it seriously.  Why don’t I do it?  The last time I did it it turned into a whole novel (Jane Doe) that remains unfinished.  It doesn’t have to turn into anything.  I make up my own rules.  I always have.  So I don’t know why I haven’t  been doing this.  I can rewrite the same scene over and over and over again if I want.  Not to polish it for a book but simply to continue to be in the middle of it.  Long-form poetry.

In other news, I’ve lost 6 lbs in 18 days.  I put it on facebook but I need to record it here too.  I had 113lbs to lose and now I *only* have 107lbs to lose.

Yesterday I got take out from my favorite Mexican take out place.  I got my usual plat of cheese enchiladas, beans, and rice.  I always eat the beans and rice on tortilla chips first and eat the enchiladas last.  This time I took a few bites of the enchiladas and it was too cheesy for me.  I am not evolved enough to not eat them anyway, so I did.  Then I felt too full and not good.  Like I’d had way too much cheese.  These are words I don’t understand.  This is an experience that is new and almost frightening.

Too much cheese?!

I wasn’t kidding when I said I naturally eat a lot less when I’m not drinking.  But I have never understood the concept of “too much cheese”.  Until now.  My friend Sarah thinks it may be my body being wise.  I don’t know.  I do know I haven’t had enough vegetables this week.  I’m craving them but not making them.  (Out of laziness, really, it’s been a real funk of a week.)  This coming week needs to be full of steamed vegetables.  I’ve been wanting to cut down on cheese but hadn’t had the will to do it.  Maybe it’s because I’m consuming other dairy in the form of half and half in my tea?  It’s all useless speculation.  It doesn’t really matter.  Over-thinking food in this way is irritating.  More vegetables is all I need to focus on now because I’m craving them.  And smaller portions.  Not because that’s how to lose weight (though it is) but because I don’t need as much food now.  I’m getting fuller faster because I don’t have any alcohol to soak up with it.

One last thing.  I have been unwilling to find alternative relief to my discomfort and I continue to feel unwilling.  It isn’t that there’s nothing satisfying to replace alcohol with or that there’s nothing else I could come to look forward to.  I’m not entirely sure why I am so unwilling to find new things to enjoy and look forward to.  I think part of it is that I don’t want to let myself feel comfortable.  A little self punishment perhaps?  Or maybe it’s just that I need to be in this place of discomfort because I need to really live it for a while in order to prevent myself from getting to this place ever again.  I think I have to work through some of my anger about having mental illness.  I think what’s going on is that I don’t want to mask the raw unpleasantness I’m experiencing – this return to how my head was before I drank enough beer to settle it down and keep it calm.  I think this is an important part of this whole experience.  Like going through the seven steps of grieving.  Or going through the 12 steps of AA.  This is my version.  With my rules.  I need to live in this place for a while.  Until it either resolves itself or until I’m ready to work towards resolution.  Being completely raw and unmedicated makes me a danger to myself so this here, this state is as raw as it’s safe to be.  Whatever the actual reason is, I am not ready to “fix” it or change it.

My friend Nicole has mentioned seeking sedative-like effects from herbs.  Hops came to mind.  Bitter bitter hops.  Hops are one of the key ingredients in beer and what contributes to its satisfying bite.  Long long ago, when I lived alone on Hyde street and was getting really witchy, I used to make a hops, peppermint, and honey tea to help me with insomnia.  It wasn’t very effective but it was calming.  When I’m ready to find other things to drink and look forward to – I may try using hops in a few different ways and see what comes of it.  Not a lot of other herbs have had a sedative action for me but I will consult my herbal books and see what other things I may want to experiment with.  I am interested in making bitters – but this takes some alcohol.  They are meant to be taken in very small quantities – enough to soak a sugar cube, for example.  So I may allow myself home made bitters if it seems like a good idea.  I do plan on buying Angostura bitters this weekend.  That’s made with alcohol too.  But you use only a few drops per glass so I will not be counting that as having an alcoholic drink any more than I would consider taking an herbal tincture the same thing as having an alcoholic drink.  We’ll see.  I will look into it and I will consider it.

I make up my own rules because this is my own adventure.

90 Reasons not to Drink for 90 Days: #14

my old view

An old view.  An old life.

#14 Reason not to Drink: Because this is the point where I usually give up

Two weeks of making major efforts, cutting serious calories out, being pretty damn healthy, and I don’t look even a tiny different and, honestly, don’t feel at all different either.  In the past this is the point where I give up because I get depressed that making big changes to my comfort doesn’t translate into clear changes in my body.  But this time I’m not giving up.  Today I choose not to drink again, in spite of the fact that I don’t feel any healthier or look any healthier, because I’m not going by the old script.

Just a few minutes ago I was thinking about getting some cleaning done and how good beer will taste when I’m done – and then experienced that horrid deflation on realizing that there wasn’t anything festive to drink as reward.  Our ginger beer is almost done but honestly will never compare to alcoholic beverages.

In spite of feeling a little low again about having one of my favorite things out of my life, I will not give up.

*****

It’s the official two week mark.  Has it really only been two weeks?  Today it feels like forever.  Maybe tomorrow it will feel like time is just flying by.  I don’t know.  I’m feeling pretty lethargic.  I have done nothing this weekend, gotten nothing accomplished.  Today all I want to do is watch Poirot and bide my time until it’s tomorrow or the next day or the next.  So, clearly not feeling very sparky or purposeful.  I think I can call today a success if all I do is get the Christmas tree down.  And, in an effort to not feel completely useless I will do that right now.  Hope you all are having a more happy and useful weekend.

90 Reasons not to Drink for 90 Days: #12 and #13

jt on snl

#12 Reason for not Drinking: it isn’t the middle ages anymore

Back in the middle ages you could justify drinking a gallon of beer a day for the combined reasons that it was an excellent source of vitamins* and a lack of potable water sources.  Beer was safer and so people (especially monks) drank way more alcohol than water and were sometimes paid in beer.  Well, it isn’t the middle ages anymore and it’s hard to justify a gallon of beer a day habit.  The good news (if you’re sad that it’s not socially acceptable to drink gallons of beer) is that the earth’s water sources are, again, becoming polluted beyond safety and produce is becoming less nutrient rich all the time through the use of pesticides and unsustainable farming habits.  The day when beer is once again a reputable source of fun, excellent flavors, and good nutrition isn’t all that distant.

#13 Reason for not Drinking: because Sid didn’t drink today

My friend Sid is forgoing beer right now to help support me in my challenging time and today she didn’t drink during her parents’ visit.  She missed an opportunity to drink with her dad who is one of her favorite drinking companions.  If I was to drink beer tonight after she has abstained I would not be able to call myself a good friend any more.  Since she’s one of my favorite people – I am not drinking tonight more emphatically than any other night since I started this.  I AM EMPHATICALLY BEER FREE.  For Sid.

I am also emphatically NOT drinking tonight for Bobby and Kymber who are doing this challenge with me and also Cathy who is doing her own version of it – you all are in my thoughts tonight as I am being emphatic!  Oh – and Nadine too, who went sober before me to reach some similar goals.  Nadine – EMPHATICALLY not drinking for you too!

But, especially because Sid lost a great opportunity to imbibe, for my sake.

Tomorrow I may be a lot less enthusiastic so, you know, enjoy.

*They didn’t have nutrient-empty beers back then like Coors or Bud.

90 Reasons not to Drink for 90 Days: #10

chapter four

#10 Reason not to Drink for 90 days: because I love writing more than I love drinking

(Dedicated to my friend Jimo, a patron saint of the arts)

There is nothing more gratifying than to have people excited for you to finish your second book in a series.  It means they really liked the first book.  My friend Jimo just read my book and suggested that my next reason not to drink is to get the second Cricket and Grey book written more quickly.  Which is actually one of the bigger reasons I knew I needed to give up alcohol for a while.

Everyone knows that writers shouldn’t drink hard when they’re struggling to get a name for themselves.  You start the heavy drinking AFTER everyone knows your name.  That way, when you crash and burn it will go down in spectacular history rather than just be the shame of your family and friends that is never mentioned.  I mean, if you’re going to be a problem drinker, you may as well be interesting and public about it.

Drinking makes me stay up super late and get up late and then start writing late and the later in the day it is the less likely I am to get any actual good writing done.  I was getting really pissed off at myself because I want to be on a much more disciplined writing schedule.  You have to be if you want to finish writing books and promote them and write more.  Writing well is hard work and deserves to be treated as a first priority.  As much as I love beer, I love writing more than drinking.

There will always be time to drink hard later but there isn’t always enough time to write good books now.

90 Reasons not to Drink for 90 days: #5 and #6

garden hat 1

Reason #5 for not drinking for 90 days: less recycling

Our recycling bin seems to have a bottomless pit when it’s empty.  It’s difficult to imagine having enough stuff to fill it up.  Yet we frequently filled it to capacity with 50% of it comprised of beer bottles.  It’s a relief to create less bottle waste.

Reason #6 for not drinking for 90 days: for the love of hats

I am a hat wearer.  I love them and I used to look great in them until my head got fat.  That’s right.  When you get really fat your head circumference grows right along with the rest of you – even before you can see it in your face.  I can no longer wear my favorite hat (the dirty 12 year old paper hat you see above) and it really bothers me.  It is very hard for me to find hats that work for me now aside from my berets.  There was only one hat left that I could wear on my fat head and still look good in, and my dog ate it 4 years ago.  Not drinking today means getting one step closer to being able to wear hats again.

90 Reasons not to Drink for 90 Days: #1

yellow feetReason #1 for not drinking for 90 days: MY FEET

It is no secret that when you get fat, really fat, your feet get fatter too.  It’s also no secret that the heavy you are the more weight your feet have to bear, the harder they hit the pavement to carry your mass around all day.  I have always had obnoxious feet (very wide, super high arch, a bad temperament) but it wasn’t until I gained the first 50lbs above my normal weight that I had really bad foot pains (most likely plantar fasciitis) and my feet ache a lot when I have to be on them.

Since not drinking for 90 days will help me lose weight, it will help my feet too.  Every pound I lose is a pound my feet don’t have to feel bearing down on them.

I want happier more comfortable and functional feet.

*****

So this is day one of my challenge and I have spent most of the day in bed because I have come down with either a cold or the flu.  I’m not quite sure yet but it’s feeling flu-ish at the moment.  But instead of running a fever I’m running kind of cold at 94.8 degree body temp.  Yet I was sweating profusely and feeling very hot under my covers.  I have a terrible sore throat that is easing up now, a stuffed head (also easing up a bit) and the beginnings of a chest infection.  YAY.  So it’s beer-0-clock now and do I want a beer?

I do not.  I do usually drink some alcohol even when I’m feeling sick – it kind of numbs soar throats – but I do not want any alcohol right now.  I’m drinking  sage tea with lemon, raw honey, a dash of cayenne, and a dash of turmeric in it.  It tastes much better than it should.

I’m thinking of this as a backwards kind of gift from the universe.  Its way of easing me into this period of rest for my liver and all my other organs that don’t love beer as much as I do.  I truly hope it’s a cold, though, and not the flu.  I really don’t want Philip or Max to get this.  I really wish we had a better extra-bed situation.  Oh well.

Incidentally, I really dislike the word “sober”.  I was just going to say it sounds so dry and heavy and wondered if that’s why being sober is also referred to as being dry?

Well, that’s all the being up I can stand.  It’s time to get horizontal with a book and hope hope hope this is just a little cold.